Consumer Behaviour Vehicle Weight and Distribution

Understanding Campervan & Motorhome Weight

17th December, 2020 by rvSafe Team
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Understanding your motorhome weight is simple yet important. Keeping your vehicle within its weight limits will ensure you have a safe and stable vehicle on the road. You also need to know vehicle weight to ensure you have the correct license for your chosen RV.

There are three weights to consider. The Tare Weight, Gross Vehicle Mass and Payload.

Tare Weight

Tare Weight  represents the unladen weight of the vehicle including all engine fluids and a 10L fuel reserve. It is important to note that this may not include dealer inclusions or optional fittings at the time of purchase.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is specified by the manufacturer and is the maximum legal loaded mass of the vehicle.


Payload is the maximum weight you can load into your RV. It includes people, water, fuel, and all your personal items. If you are towing, it also includes the Tow Ball Weight.

You can check your vehicles compliance plate to find your vehicles Tare and GVM. Deduct the Tare Weight from the GVM to calculate your Payload. Please note, it is best to get your vehicle weighed at a weigh bridge or portable weigh station to ensure you know the correct vehicle weight. Make sure you pack all your gear and take your passengers with you for the weighing!

If you are looking to tow a trailer or secondary car behind your motorhome, you will also need to take into account the motorhomes Towing Capacity, Tow Ball Mass and Gross Combined Mass (GCM) as stipulated by the manufacturer.

The GVM of your motorhome will dictate what license is required for your vehicle.

  • Car License – a vehicle that does not exceed 4.5 tonnes (GVM)
  • Light Rigid – has a GVM more than 4.5 tonnes but no more than 8 tonnes
  • Medium Rigid – has a GVM more than 8 tonnes and no more than 2 axles
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